Monday, January 17, 2011

The Volunteers (sorry, Kyle, No pictures)

Well, the internet is down here right now, and the care mothers aren’t meeting to learn English today after all, so I thought I’d write a bit of information about the other volunteers, so that they aren’t just names to you when you read them from now on.

Jason (33): The first volunteer I met. We started emailing about a week before we both met up in Thailand. He’s from England, has worked in a bakery for six years of his life, and plays the drums. As far as religion goes, I think he’s still in search of something to believe in. He went to Nepal about a year ago and spent a month in a Buddhist monastery learning about meditation and reincarnation, but I don’t think he’s a devout Buddhist by any means. He talks a lot about the energy of thoughts and their power to affect our lives. He’s a semi-vegetarian, which means he eats vegetarian food when it’s convenient, but won’t balk at meat if that’s all that’s available. He’ll be working in the bakery and all of the volunteers are hoping he’ll improve some of the food that has been served there of late (aka pizza made with ketchup instead of tomato sauce).

Paul (from New Zealand): Paul has been here for nine-months—long enough to master the art of driving a motorcycle around the town (though I’m not sure he didn’t already know how before he came here). He’s got a teasing sense of humor, and radiates confidence in everything he does. He helps around up at the house—I’m not sure which projects he’s involved himself the most in, but I know that he started a band with five of the girls living here. I haven’t heard them perform yet, but it sounds like they do ok for themselves. Paul’s taught them all how to play guitar, and one of the girl is picking up the drums (I think Jason will be training her a little more extensively while he’s here). Their repertoire includes songs such as “Let it Be,” Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” and “Last Christmas.” Paul says he finds that they work harder if he lets them learn songs that they know and are excited about. He’ll be leaving in about two weeks to go back to New Zealand.

Mailyn (about 24): Mailyn is from Reno, Nevada and has almost finished her six months of service here. She studied abroad in Italy for awhile, and came here for some more experience in a different culture. I’ll be taking over most of her projects when she leaves in a couple of weeks. She’s in charge of the fund raising for Baan Unrak as well as teaching the care-mothers English. I found out yesterday that she and Paul started dating after they met here and they’re living together at his place. She’ll be going to New Zealand with him when they leave.

Lars: Lars is from Sweden, and has only been here for two weeks. His English is really good, but he sometimes asks us how to say things in English. He spent his Sunday kayaking for a few hours, I guess it’s something he’s pretty experienced at. He has nice arms =) Other than that, I don’t know anything about Lars, but I’m happy I get to know him more over the next six months.

Sima (31): Sima is from Canada and a short term volunteer at the school. She’s been here for about two and a half weeks and she’ll be leaving on February 3rd. She is an occupational therapist, and I guess is working a little bit in that regard at the Baan Unrak School. Sima is Canadian-Indian—her parents met in India and then her Dad moved to Canada for work, and they never left. She visits India every couple of years, and says that it feels like home there to her. She speaks fluent Hindi as well as English. She claims to be half Hindu and half Jain when it comes to religion. I’d never heard of “Jains” before, and she explained that basically they believe it is wrong to kill any living thing. She says that it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the main philosophy. She was married a few months ago to another Candian-Indian, and she’ll join back up with him when she’s done volunteering here in a few weeks. She ends all of her phrases with feminine endings….which makes it sound like she doesn’t expect you to be smart enough to understand what she’s telling you. Haha…..I like her anyway, though.

Paul (From Scotland,27): If we’re allowed to pick favorites, I’d probably choose Paul. Maybe that’s just because I’ve talked to him the most. When I first heard him speak, I thought he was from England, like Jay. When I asked why he doesn’t have a Scottish brogue, he says it’s because he comes from kind of a “posh” family, and that all “posh” people speak with the same accent throughout the UK. He has the kind of accent that English movie stars have….very nice to listen to. Jay’s accent is more London-esque. Not cokney…just more lazy English I think. If Paul were to keep a religion as his own, I think he’d be Buddhist. He says he’s dabbled with Christianity a little bit, but he finds it too contradictory and confusing, and he thinks Buddhism is more appealing. He was very open minded though when I told him about Mormonism and the clarity presented in the gospel that I don’t think is present in a lot of other Christian sects. This kid knows everything about everything. He speaks fluent Thai, and quite a few other languages as well. Whenever I have a question about anything cultural, or governmental, he’s the go-to guy. He can also read Thai, which blows my mind, because Thai just looks like a bunch of similar squiggles to me. Paul is an only child and has been traveling the world for some time now. He’s spent a lot of time in South East Asia, and he’s planning on living here for five to ten years after he’s done volunteering. I think he plans to go try out the Buddhist monk life-style for a while before he settles down in Thailand though. At the home, he teaches classes to the home-schooled kids, and he does work on the Baan Unrak website. He leaves in just a couple of weeks as well, and will definitely be missed.

There are a couple of other volunteers as well, but they are both out of town, so I don’t know much about them.

Matchima (Who knows how you really spell her name) is a Thai girl from Bangkok. She’s been teaching Yoga classes here at the school, and it sounds like she plans on starting her own yoga retreat business here in Sangkhla when she gets back. I don’t think I’ll be seeing much of her while I’m here, because she’ll probably be moving out of the house as soon as she gets back.

Anne-Cecile is the one that coordinated with me and emailed me while I was at home. She’s a longer-term volunteer here, maybe a full year? I’m not sure. According to Paul she’s a butch French lady, who seems harsh, but works hard. He laughed when I told him my worries that I’d have to shave my head like hers when I came =) He says that her hair being shorn has to do with her own life-style and nothing to do with any kind of practice here. What a relief.

PS I made a mistake in my last post. The Didi I met was Didi Damevala? Again, not sure on the spelling. She's from Italy. The other Didi is Didi Anna.

Sigh…the internet still isn’t working and I’m feeling kind of useless. I’d like to get online and start brainstorming music for the choir I’m hoping to start with the kids…but alas, tis not to be. I guess I’ll just sit here scratching my mosquito bites for a bit while I try to get the internet on my computer working again.

Sawa dee ka!

1 comment:

  1. Kimber, I LOVE your blog. I sat here for an hour catching up on everything from start to finish. Your lifestyle change sounds incredible...and it sounds like you are a trooper at being flexible. Squat toilets? Huge spiders? Unidentified floaters in your food? And the need a dog whistle...the kind the human ear can't hear, but that drives a dog insane. Look into that!!! I will eagerly await your every post! Love, Lols